Friday, October 29, 2010

Hip-hop UC professor battles chemical company citing pesticide impact on frogs

An interesting tale appears today in California Watch:

Allies of Syngenta, a company that produces a ubiquitous but controversial herbicide, have continued attacks on UC Berkeley Professor Tyrone Hayes, a leading critic of the chemical who has fought the company through outrageous e-mails laced with rap lyrics, original rhymes and raunchy put-downs...

...UC Berkeley has defended the professor's free speech rights. Hayes is preparing to submit a new study co-authored with dozens of scientists around the world that says atrazine is a reproductive toxin. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning to hold more hearings on the chemical's use. And Hayes is enjoying a newfound pop culture following...

The fight exploded this summer when Syngenta filed an ethics complaint against Hayes at UC Berkeley and publicized 102 pages of e-mails from Hayes to Syngenta employees and researchers, spanning nearly 10 years...

...Syngenta wrote a letter in July to UC Regent Russell Gould, UC President Mark Yudof and UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, saying that Hayes has subjected employees of Syngenta Crop Protection Inc. to numerous harassing e-mails. "These emails have not only been aggressive, unprofessional and insulting, but also salacious and lewd," Syngenta's attorney Alan Nadel wrote.

Full story at

Hayes is a chaired professor in the Dept. of Integrative Biology. A profile is at

A sample of Hayes rap is at:

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